Here is a new excuse for the ‘coalition’ of cheaters to use when they have been caught red-handed. Never mind that could just boil down to your lack of a moral compass.

From cheating in a simple test, to cheating in a friendly game amongst friends or the infamous, most hated- cheating on your partner.

Scientists have discovered that cheating and other unethical behaviours have something to do with your hormones.

According to a recent study, yet to be published in the August edition of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, researchers at Harvard University and the University of Texas were interested to find out what motivates us to cheat as cheating scandals have become a huge concern as ‘financial fraud amounts to $3.7 trillion in annual costs for businesses.’

They focused on two hormones namely, the reproductive hormone testosterone and the stress hormone cortisol; researchers found that they played a two part role in encouraging and enforcing the urge to cheat.

You’re probably thinking- but how can they determine whether people are likely to cheat, as am I?

Researchers asked 117 participants to take a maths test, once completed; they were told to mark their own test (something a teacher would never let you do) and give feedback on how many maths problems they got correct. Here is the kicker; participants were told that the more correct answers they have, the more money they will be paid. Who needs anymore motivation?

Salivary samples were then collected from participants who took the test and this is what they found out, those, who had higher levels of testosterone and cortisol were more likely to be deceitful about how many problems they got correct.

“Elevated testosterone decreases the fear of punishment while increasing sensitivity to reward. Elevated cortisol is linked to an uncomfortable state of chronic stress that can be extremely debilitating.”

Testosterone equips you with the courage needed to cheat and the elevated cortisol provides you with a reason to cheat.

Surprisingly enough, those who cheated had reported feeling relieved as there was a reduction in their stress levels, “accompanied by a lower level of cortisol in their system.”

“The stress reduction is accompanied by a powerful stimulation of the reward centers in the brain, so these physiological psychological changes have the unfortunate consequence of reinforcing the unethical behaviour,” Josephs said.

So it’s like saying, anyone can cheat it just has to do with your hormone levels. Mmmmm, that could be up for debate or do you agree?

Whilst writing this article, the only words that were swarming in my head were those of famous R&B singer Shaggy’s “It wasn’t me”.

Sources: Medical Daily

Alice Paulse